116th Congress breaks records for women, minority lawmakers

The 116th Congress is making history with a record number of women and many lawmakers breaking racial and religious barriers.

The numbers of African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American lawmakers are at new highs, as is the number of lawmakers who are openly LGBT. The new Congress also includes a number of historic firsts, including the first Muslim women and first Native American women to serve.

ADVERTISEMENT

The differences between the two parties, though, are stark, with most of the women and an overwhelming number of minority lawmakers on the Democratic side.

Here’s a breakdown of the voting members of the 116th Congress.

Women

The number of women in Congress is at a record high at 127, up from 110 in the last session.

A quarter of the Senate is now female. Of those 25 senators, 17 are Democrats and 8 are Republicans. In the House, there are 102 female lawmakers, with 89 Democrats and 13 Republicans.

The midterms also brought a wave of historic firsts, with Reps. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyDems seek to stifle primary challenges to incumbents Beto could give Biden and Bernie a run for their money Pelosi says she backs lowering voting age to 16 MORE (D-Mass.) and Jahana HayesJahana HayesDems under fire put brakes on Omar resolution Rolling Stone cover features Democratic ‘women shaping the future’ Gillibrand jabs Trump: 'Female jobs he created were Democratic women in Congress' MORE (D-Conn.) becoming the first African-American women to represent their states in Congress. Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTrump to speak to GOP Jewish group amid anti-Semitism spat with Dems Dems seek to stifle primary challenges to incumbents Trump on 2020 Dems skipping AIPAC: 'I think they're anti-Jewish' MORE (D-Minn.) became the first Somali-American to serve, and with Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibRashida Tlaib celebrates Purim gift from progressive Jewish activist group House Dems unveil measure to reject anti-Israel boycotts Dems concerned impeachment will make Trump 'appear like a victim,' says pollster MORE (D-Mich.), was among the first Muslim women. Reps. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarBooker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements On The Money: Trump issues first veto, warning of 'reckless' resolution | US hits Russia with new sanctions | Dems renew push for contractor back pay | Lawmakers seek probe into undocumented workers at Trump businesses Hispanic Caucus demands probe into Trump Organization hiring undocumented workers MORE (D) and Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaDems visit shelter for migrant children, call it 'chilling' Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall 116th Congress breaks records for women, minority lawmakers MORE (D) also made history as Texas’s first Latina lawmakers. In California, Nevada, Arizona, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Washington, women hold both Senate seats.

African-Americans

The new Congress is set to have 55 African-American lawmakers in the House and Senate, up from 49 in the previous term.

Rep. Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority Dems seek relief for worried taxpayers in tough filing season Dem lawmaker inspires social media users to share selfies in their glasses MORE (D-Ill.) became the youngest black woman elected to Congress at age 32.

ADVERTISEMENT
According to Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairwoman Karen BassKaren Ruth BassAdvocate says Native American women more likely to be victims of violence This week: Trump set for Senate setback on emergency declaration The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi's challenge: Getting Dems back on same page MORE (D-Calif.), the CBC will also have a record number of members at 55, including two nonvoting delegates.

Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdProperty is a fundamental right that is now being threatened The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority MORE (R-Texas) will be the only black Republican in the House. In the upper chamber, there are three African-Americans: Democratic Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKamala Harris to pitch using federal funds to give teachers pay raises Dem senator: 'Appropriate' for Barr, Mueller to testify publicly about Russia probe Here's what the Dem candidates for president said about the Mueller report MORE (Calif.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerHere's what the Dem candidates for president said about the Mueller report Booker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements Booker endorses New Jersey marijuana legalization bill MORE (N.J.), and Republican Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottSenate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court Breaking down barriers for American military families Top House Dem dismisses reparations as 2020 candidates endorse idea MORE (S.C.)

Hispanics

Congress boasts a record number of Hispanic lawmakers in the current term, at 45.

The total includes 41 in the House and four senators.

The star of the freshman class is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars 'Washington Monthly' editor says diversity on Capitol Hill starts with interns Why is my party prioritizing an extreme environmental agenda? MORE (D-N.Y.), who has quickly become a progressive icon.

Escobar and Garcia made history as the first Hispanic women elected to Congress from Texas. Rep. Lori TrahanLori A. TrahanBooker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements Dem bill would let essential workers collect unemployment during shutdown 116th Congress breaks records for women, minority lawmakers MORE (D-Mass.) is the first Portuguese-American woman to be elected to Congress.

The 116th Congress is set to have the largest Congressional Hispanic Caucus in history as it grows to 39 members, including 4 nonvoting members.

Asian-Americans

A record number of 17 Asian-Americans will be serving in this Congress, with 14 in the House and three in the Senate.

Among the notable firsts is Rep. Andy Kim (D), who became the first Asian-American ever elected to Congress from New Jersey. 

According to the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Kim and Rep. TJ Cox (D-Calif.) bring the total number of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders to a historic 20 members. That number includes three nonvoting delegates.

LGBT

The number of LGBT lawmakers is up to 10 from seven. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) joins Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinOn The Money: Trump issues emergency order grounding Boeing 737 Max jets | Senate talks over emergency resolution collapse | Progressives seek defense freeze in budget talks Dems offer bill to end tax break for investment-fund managers Bipartisan think tank to honor lawmakers who offer 'a positive tenor' MORE (D-Wis.) in the Senate as the second openly LGBT member of the chamber.

In the House, there are four new LGBT members: Reps. Angie Craig (D-Minn.), Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsFirst Native American Congresswoman presides over House Kansas Senate race splits wide open without Pompeo Trump gets dose of new political reality at State of the Union MORE (D-Kan.), Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillBooker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements Cummings refuses to join GOP's criminal referral of Cohen over perjury concerns Oversight Dem: 'I imagine' chairman will ask for investigation into Cohen for alleged perjury MORE (D-Calif.) and Chris PappasChristopher (Chris) Charles PappasThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority 116th Congress breaks records for women, minority lawmakers Here are the lawmakers who will forfeit their salaries during the shutdown MORE (D-N.H.).

More religious diversity

Overwhelmingly, most members of Congress identify as Christian, but there are some notable exceptions.

Tlaib and Omar became the first two Muslim women to win seats in the House. They join André Carson (D-Ind.) and bring the total number of Muslims in Congress to three. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonKeith Ellison: Evidence points to Trump being 'sympathetic' to white nationalist point of view Trump: Media 'working overtime to blame me' for New Zealand attack Democrats upset over Omar seeking primary challenger MORE, who is also Muslim, left Congress to serve as Minnesota attorney general.

The number of Jewish lawmakers in Congress rose from 30 to 34, with 26 in the House and 8 in the Senate. Only two are Republicans — Reps. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinHouse Republican explains decision to vote against anti-hate resolution The Hill's Morning Report - A rough week for House Dems The 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution MORE (N.Y.) and David KustoffDavid Frank KustoffIt's time to defund the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen Progressives come to Omar's defense Pelosi seeks to tamp down anti-Semitism controversy MORE (Tenn.)

Three members of the House identify as Hindu, all of whom were reelected in November.

The 116th Congress will have two Buddhists, with Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoCitizens lose when partisans play politics with the federal judiciary Warren, Harris, Gillibrand back efforts to add justices to Supreme Court Liberal commentator: Trump's warning that supporters could play tough is a 'violent dog whistle' MORE (D-Hawaii) in the Senate and Rep. Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonDem lawmakers unveil Journalist Protection Act amid Trump attacks on media Whitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers Dem behind impeachment push to boycott State of the Union MORE (D-Ga.) in the House.

Veterans

The 116th Congress includes 96 veterans, down six from the last Congress. There are 77 serving in the House and 19 in the Senate.

While the overall number is down, there are a record number of female former service members. Seven female veterans will serve in Congress, including Sens. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthDanish legislator told she's 'not welcome' in Parliament after bringing baby to work Overnight Defense: Pentagon details 8 billion budget request | Officials defend boost for war fund | Armed Services chair aims to 'kill' Trump plan for low-yield nuke Why block citizenship to immigrants who defend America? MORE (D-Ill.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstCrenshaw to Trump: 'Stop talking about McCain' Stop asking parents to sacrifice Social Security benefits for paid family leave Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court MORE (R-Iowa) and Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyArpaio's wife recovering after rattlesnake bite in Arizona Former astronaut running for Senate in Arizona returns money from paid speech in UAE The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game MORE (R-Ariz.) in the upper chamber and Reps. Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillBooker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority New Jersey Dems tell Pentagon not to use military funds for border wall MORE (D-N.J.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) and Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaOvernight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change MORE (D-Va.) in the House.